Today we went for a day trip to Llangollen, to visit Thomas The Tank Engine, as a treat for the girls. It’s an amazing place at any time, but with the added excitement of the “real” Thomas Tank being there, giddiness was off the charts!
Rain was forecast to be in for the entire day, but that didn’t dampen our spirits, we just got togged up in our coats and set off.
First up we had a look around at the train station, and the girls chatted to all the people there, most of who they recognised from Thomas stories. Of course, the fat controller was popular, playing second fiddle only to Thomas himself.
Whilst the girls chatted to the characters, I grabbed a long exposure of the river, and some of the railway, but for the most part it was just great fun watching the girls enjoy the moment.
We went for a ride on Thomas, which the girls really enjoyed, as did Holly and I, there is still magic in steam power; I think there always will be.
Then we grabbed some lunch and went onto another train, that took us a half hour train ride to Carrog.
Once we arrived, having traveled through the stunning countryside, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, we had a look around the station at Carrog.
Whilst there, the girls were treated to some Thomas Train stories, Holly and I had a coffee and I grabbed some more photographs. The weather was just as outstanding as the countryside; thick cloud and constant rain, but it did mean the hill tops were shrouded in mist and cloud, and it looked awesome!
The weather made for tricky shooting, especially as I hadn’t brought my tripod. It meant everything was hand held, in the low light conditions. I didn’t want to push my ISO too far though, as I know misty and cloudy scenes can really suffer from noise.
So I pushed my ISO to 400 for some shots, but for the most part tried to keep it at 200 or lower. Instead, I would push my shutter speed lower and risk some shots missing focus.
I know that’s a massive risk, because you can combat noise to a degree in post processing and you can’t fix an out of focus shot, but I knew too much noise would ruin the effect I was trying to achieve in the misty hills, so I deemed it a risk worth taking.
Just to add an extra level to the technicality of the shots, some of these were taken from the moving train, out of the open window!
In the image below, I kept some of the blurred tree leaves and branches in the frame around the bottom third, to just give that feeling of movement.
The views were just amazing, and the girls had a really good time. They had a little grump when we wouldn’t buy them everything in the gift shop, but other than that they didn’t let the rain or cold bother them one little bit. Tough cookies our little girls are.
Learnings – another amazing day at Llangollen, and if you are ever in the area I would heartily recommend you visit this stunning little village.
Photography wise, most of the “work” was in getting the compositions right, once I’d decided to risk low ISO’s. Other than that, it was just a case of being super delicate in the post processing of the images, so I could retain that misty almost ethereal vibe from the scenes.
A lovely day, and I have a lot more images than these to remember it by, but these were my favourites of the scenery.